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Broncos hire ex-Giants coach Pat Shurmur as play-caller

Tue Jan 14 10:08pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Joe Flacco, Brandon Allen, Phillip Lindsay, Courtland Sutton, Patrick Mahomes, Daniel Jones, Drew Lock, Noah Fant

File- This Jan. 26, 2018, file photo shows Pat Shurmur speaking after being introduced as head coach of the New York Giants during an NFL football news conference, in East Rutherford , N.J. The Giants fired Shurmur on Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, just two years into a five-year contract, the Daily News has confirmed. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio hired former New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur as his offensive coordinator on Tuesday.

Shurmur becomes the Broncos' fifth offensive play-caller in five seasons and inherits an attack that features youngsters Drew Lock, Dalton Risner, Noah Fant, Courtland Sutton and Phillip Lindsay but also needs a major makeover to challenge Kansas City's supremacy in the AFC West.

Shurmur replaces Rich Scangarello, who struggled in his first season as an NFL play-caller in 2019 although the Broncos (7-9) won games behind three different starting quarterbacks, including the rookie Lock, who went 4-1 down the stretch.

Shurmur drew interest from several teams, including the Chicago Bears, after his firing two weeks ago by the Giants following a 4-12 finish in his second year.

In a statement, Fangio called Shurmur ''an established play-caller with significant experience leading an offense as both a coordinator and head coach.''

''Having coached against Pat for a number of years, he's always impressed me. His track record of developing younger players is outstanding,'' Fangio said. ''Pat brings a collaborative approach to working with the staff as well as a flexibility to adjust the offense to our players and opponents. We're excited to add someone of his caliber to our coaching staff.''

Shurmur is the second member of Fangio's staff with NFL head coaching experience, joining offensive line coach Mike Munchak.

A 32-year coaching veteran, Shurmur has 21 seasons of NFL experience, including the last 11 years as a head coach or offensive coordinator. He was head coach in Cleveland from 2011-12 and New York from 2018-19, where he fast-tracked the development of rookie QB Daniel Jones last season. He also served as interim coach for the Eagles at the end of 2015.

Shurmur also served as offensive coordinator with the Vikings (2016-17), Eagles (2013-15) and Rams (2009-10).

Fangio originally said he didn't plan to change any of his coordinators but changed his mind two weeks later after reviewing the Broncos' offense that managed fewer than 18 points a game and regressed in most categories under Scangarello's watch.

Denver was the only team in 2019 to finish the season in the bottom five in points scored, total offense, third-down success rate and red zone success.

The Broncos scored 16 or fewer points in half of their games and veteran QB Joe Flacco criticized the team's play-calling as too conservative following a 15-13 loss at Indianapolis that dropped the team to 2-6. Flacco went on injured reserve with a neck injury later that week and Brandon Allen went 1-2 before Lock took over for the final five games.

The Broncos were outscored 53-9 by the Chiefs in their two losses to Kansas City last season and knew they had to make great strides on offense to try to end a four-year playoff drought and reel in the Chiefs, who have won the AFC West all four of those seasons.

Fangio now has a more experienced coordinator who can add more downfield passing as well as the jet motion and modernized formations that Patrick Mahomes is operating so deftly in Kansas City, where the AFC championship will be played Sunday between the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans.

The Broncos' OC job has been as much of a turnstile of late as head coach and quarterback with Rick Dennison (2016), Mike McCoy (2017), Bill Musgrave (2018) and Scangarello all flailing in the years since the Broncos won Super Bowl 50 in Peyton Manning's final season.

Player Notes
Devonta Freeman Oct 31 3:30pm ET

New York Giants running back Devonta Freeman (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This was expected, as Freeman was not able to take the practice field all week. He suffered the injury during the Giants' Week 7 contest against the Eagles on Thursday night, though the added time didn't help him heal any quicker. The Giants will turn to Wayne Gallman- who looked good in spurts against Philadelphia- as their lead back. He'll get enough touches to be started as a flex option, though it's hard to envision him finding much success against Tampa's league-best run defense.

From RotoBaller

Stephon Gilmore Oct 31 3:30pm ET

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (knee) is out for a key Week 8 divisional clash against the Bills. There was a glimmer of hope on Thursday when Gilmore was able to get a limited practice session in, though Friday's DNP made his status for Sunday grim. New England doesn't have much depth behind last year's Defensive Player of the Year and is inconveniently about to face Stefon Diggs. Diggs was already a must-start based on his previous production and is now arguably a top-five wide receiver this week.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Lindsay Oct 31 2:40pm ET

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said that running back Phillip Lindsay (concussion) will go for one more post-concussion evaluation on Saturday, but the team expects him to play in Week 8 against the Chargers, barring a setback in that test. It's bad news for Melvin Gordon, who will now share touches in the backfield with Lindsay, making him more of a low-end RB2/high-end RB3/flex. Lindsay was the better runner in Week 7, too, racking up 79 yards on nine carries. He's averaging just under five yards a carry and Gordon lost two costly fumbles against the Chiefs. Lindsay will be an RB3/flex option in PPR leagues if he can pass his final concussion test.

From RotoBaller

Andy Dalton Oct 31 2:30pm ET

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton (concussion) has been downgraded from doubtful to out for the Sunday night game against the division-rival Eagles in Week 8. This was the expectation all along after Dalton was unable to clear the concussion protocol or practice all week. Owner Jerry Jones thinks that the signal-caller will be ready to go for Week 9 against the Steelers, but we'll have to keep a close eye on his progress in the league's protocol. If he is available next week, he'd be a low-end QB2 against a tough Steelers Defense. Rookie Ben DiNucci will make his first career start against Philadelphia this Sunday, but he's also a low-end desperation QB2 in superflex leagues.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Succop Oct 31 1:40pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop makes for a good play in a Week 8 matchup against the New York Giants. Succop has made at least five kicks in four straight games and has at least five extra points in two straight. There's no reason to doubt Tampa Bay's offense against the Giants, even though their defense has shown signs of improvement. Fire up Succop as a solid starting option this week.

From RotoBaller

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Oct 31 1:40pm ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense has been one of the best options for fantasy this year. They get their best matchup of the year in Week 8 against the Giants, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses. The Giants' offensive line ranks dead-last in adjusted sack rate while Tampa Bay's defensive front ranks second in sack rate. This is a dream matchup for the Buccaneers' defense, so expect more than a few sacks and a couple of turnovers forced at the expense of Daniel Jones. The Buccaneers are probably going to be the highest-scoring defense of the week.

From RotoBaller

Rob Gronkowski Oct 31 1:30pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski faces a semi-tough matchup in Week 8 against the Giants. Gronkowski has at least six targets and 50 yards receiving in each of his last three contests and has scored a touchdown in two straight games. The Giants are not the soft spot they used to be for tight ends- they've allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to the position. Still, Gronkowski is too hot to bench right now, especially with how thin the tight end position is for fantasy. He has a good chance of putting up top-12 numbers at his position in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Alshon Jeffery Oct 31 1:30pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (calf) has been ruled out for Week 8's Sunday night matchup with the division-rival Cowboys. Jeffery still has yet to make his 2020 season debut and missed practice all week. The 30-year-old miss the start of the season after having offseason foot surgery, but the calf injury is what's holding him back of late. The oft-injured veteran might not even have much of a role once he finally does return, so he's not a very attractive stash in standard-sized leagues at this point. The Eagles will be getting tight end Dallas Goedert (ankle) and rookie receiver Jalen Reagor (thumb) back in Week 8 as well. Jeffery has become a fantasy afterthought.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Johnson Oct 31 1:20pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Tyler Johnson will take the place of the injured Chris Godwin (finger) in Week 8 against the Giants. Johnson got the start in Week 5, playing a season-high 79 percent of the snaps and putting up a 4-61-0 line. With Brady currently rolling, it's fair to consider starting a player such as Johnson. There is some risk here, as the game script may tilt this towards a more run-heavy gameplan for the Buccaneers. Still, Johnson can be started by managers who are struggling with injuries or bye weeks.

From RotoBaller

Damien Harris Oct 31 1:20pm ET

New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (ankle) is listed as questionable for Week 8 against the division-rival Bills. Harris was a limited practice participant all week, so he should be able to suit up on Sunday against Buffalo, barring any setbacks. New England will need as much help as possible from their backfield this weekend with both receivers Julian Edelman (knee) and N'Keal Harry (concussion) out, but the Patriots crowded backfield and their stagnant offense are both big concerns for Harris' potential upside. Harris has seen double-digit carries in two of his three games this year, but he'll need positive game script to reach his ceiling this weekend, and that might be tough going against a strong Buffalo offense. With just two catches in three games as well, Harris is an uninspiring RB3/flex in this crowded backfield picture.

From RotoBaller

Mo Alie-Cox Oct 31 1:10pm ET

Indianapolis Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox (knee) and center Ryan Kelly (knee) are both questionable for Week 8 against the Lions. Alie-Cox didn't practice on Wednesday, but he was limited both Thursday and Friday. He sat out of the team's Week 6 game and rested up during the bye last week. The 27-year-old has a decent shot at playing this Sunday against Detroit, but his moment in the fantasy sun appears to have come and gone in 2020. Alie-Cox went over 100 yards receiving in Week 2 and scored in back-to-back games in Weeks 3 and 4, but he failed to haul in his only target in Week 5 when he was injured, and he's expected to take a back seat to Trey Burton moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Bryan Edwards Oct 31 1:10pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders rookie wide receiver Bryan Edwards (ankle, foot) is listed as questionable for Week 8 against the Browns. Edwards was limited in practice all week, so he definitely has a chance to return for the first time since Week 3. The third-rounder has caught five of his six targets for 99 yards in the first three games of his career, but he won't carry any fantasy appeal if he returns to action against Cleveland, as rookie Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow and Nelson Agholor should operate in three-receiver sets this Sunday. The Browns are an enticing matchup for wideouts; they've allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to them this year. Edwards might be able to make a splash play if he's active, but you can't trust him in fantasy lineups.

From RotoBaller

Allen Robinson Oct 31 1:00pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II (concussion) has cleared the league's concussion protocol and is expected to play in Week 8 against the Saints. Robinson missed practice all week, making it seem unlikely on Friday that he would be able to suit up on Sunday. But it looks like fantasy managers can return him to their starting lineups for this weekend. Chicago's offense has been stagnant the last two weeks, though, which has limited A-Rob to nine receptions for 123 yards on 13 targets in that span. The Bears need to make their top receiver a bigger part of the game plan to get back in the win column, but the 27-year-old will be a WR2 for fantasy managers against New Orleans.

From RotoBaller

Scott Miller Oct 31 1:00pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Scotty Miller could have a chance at more targets in Week 8 without Chris Godwin (finger) on the field. Miller has started two games without Godwin, producing a 2-11-0 line in Week 2 and a 5-83-1 line in Week 4. Brady certainly seems to trust him, which bodes well for his outlook. However, the game script might be working against him, as the Giants aren't likely to keep this a close contest. He's a risky WR4 for this game, though he's a player that can be rolled out there if you're up against it with injuries or bye weeks.

From RotoBaller

Frank Gore Oct 31 12:50pm ET

New York Jets running back Frank Gore (hand) is listed as questionable to play in Week 8 against the Chiefs. Gore was limited in practice on both Wednesday and Friday but sat out on Thursday. You really shouldn't trust anyone in this atrocious Jets offense not named Jamison Crowder, and he's not expected to play this Sunday. The 37-year-old Gore is now dealing with an injury and has been splitting repetitions with rookie La'Mical Perine recently, further cratering his fantasy value. In what will likely be a blowout loss to the defending Super Bowl champions this weekend, trusting any of Gang Green's runners would be foolish. Gore is an RB4/flex that shouldn't be trusted in 12-team leagues if he's active.

From RotoBaller

Mike Evans Oct 31 12:50pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans should see an increased target share without teammate Chris Godwin (finger) in Week 8. Evans has averaged nine targets per game in three starts without a healthy Godwin and has delivered WR2 numbers or better in all three of those contests. The matchup will be tough this week- he'll go up against a familiar foe in James Bradberry, who has been playing phenomenal football for New York. Still, Evans will get plenty of looks from Brady and has a good chance of finding the end zone in Week 8. Start him as a high-end WR2 this week who could very well finish among the top-12 at his position.

From RotoBaller

Leonard Fournette Oct 31 12:40pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette gets the Giants in Week 8 fresh off of leading his team's backfield in touches. Fournette played a season-high 56 percent of the snaps en route to 97 scrimmage yards on 17 touches back in Week 7. He'll face a Giants Defense that has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing halfbacks, including the fifth-most receiving yards. Tampa Bay is likely to operate with a lead, though Fournette seems to have the trust of the coaching staff as the third-down back. Expect a near-even split in touches with Ronald Jones II, with the former Jaguar handling much of the receiving work. He's a good flex play with RB2 upside, particularly in PPR formats.

From RotoBaller

Adam Shaheen Oct 31 12:40pm ET

Miami Dolphins tight end Adam Shaheen (shoulder) is listed as questionable for Week 8 against the Rams. Shaheen was a limited participant in practice all week, so he has a good shot at playing this Sunday. Just signed to a two-year extension worth up to $7.85 million this week, the 26-year-old has scored in each of his last two games. He had his best performance of the season in Week 6, catching all three of his targets for 51 yards and the score. But Shaheen has just seven targets and five catches for 58 yards in six games this year and remains behind Mike Gesicki in the tight end pecking order in Miami. Shaheen shouldn't be considered for starting fantasy lineups in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Ronald Jones II Oct 31 12:30pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II gets a good matchup against the Giants on Monday Night Football. Jones II ran wild in the absence of Leonard Fournette, picking up over 100 yards rushing in three consecutive games while handling at least 20 touches in each contest. However, Fournette returned healthy last week and out-touched Jones II 17-14, as the latter saw a huge dip in his snap percentage. Still, it appears that the 23-year-old will retain his early-down role for the time being, with head coach Bruce Arians referring to Fournette as more of his "nickel" back. With Tampa Bay projected to be in the lead against the Giants, Jones II will likely get his chances on the ground, making him a low-to-mid RB2.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Higbee Oct 31 12:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (hand) is listed as questionable for Week 8 against the Dolphins. Higbee was limited in practice all week, so he has a good chance to play this weekend after being a late scratch last in Week 7. Gerald Everett won't be a TE2 streamer if Higbee returns, which is looking more likely. Aside from his five-catch, 54-yard, three-touchdown performance in Week 2 against the Eagles, Higbee hasn't done a whole lot for his fantasy managers. He'll be a low-end TE2 if he returns on Sunday against Miami, one of two teams that have yet to allow a touchdown to a tight end in 2020.

From RotoBaller